Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' Watch: Jesse Eisenberg And Kristen Stewart Go On In The Run In Red Band Trailer For 'American Ultra' The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival The Top 10 Films Of The 2015 Cannes Film Festival 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions 5 Innovative Ways The Michael Fassbender/Marion Cotillard 'Macbeth' Differs From Previous Versions New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters New ‘Ant-Man’ Photos; Movie May Include More Marvel Cinematic Universe Characters Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Over 30 New 'Jurassic World' Photos, Plus 2 New Clips & Lots Of New TV Spots Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Matt Damon Goes Interstellar Again In New Pics From Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ Cannes Awards Winners: Jacques Audiard's 'Dheepan' Wins Palme d’Or; Rooney Mara Ties For Best Actress With ‘Carol’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season 10 Movies Booed At Cannes 10 Movies Booed At Cannes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Savannah Fest Review: Contemporary Approach & Old Fashioned Message Clash In Rom-Com 'Missed Connections'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 30, 2012 at 10:02AM

That chance encounter, or the moment of love at first sight -- these have been the familiar building blocks of romantic comedies for decades, not to mention that New York City is a common backdrop against which these stories can play out. And yet, both audiences and filmmakers remain drawn to these tales, eager to see two people overcome personal, professional and/or social pressures to find a fairytale ending. However, in a genre as well traveled as this, finding a fresh angle isn't easy, but co-writer and director Martin Snyder gives it a whirl with "Missed Connections." While the online/social media twist doesn't absolve the film's many cliches and questionable moral lesson, the committed performances do at least highlight some talented folks worth looking out for down the road.
0
Missed Connections

That chance encounter, or the moment of love at first sight -- these have been the familiar building blocks of romantic comedies for decades, not to mention that New York City is a common backdrop against which these stories can play out. And yet, both audiences and filmmakers remain drawn to these tales, eager to see two people overcome personal, professional and/or social pressures to find a fairytale ending. However, in a genre as well traveled as this, finding a fresh angle isn't easy, but co-writer and director Martin Snyder gives it a whirl with "Missed Connections." While the online/social media twist doesn't absolve the film's many cliches and questionable moral lesson, the committed performances do at least highlight some talented folks worth looking out for down the road.

The central couple are straight out of the manual of the stock romantic comedy: Lucy (Mickey Sumner) is a frigid, no fun lawyer whose career is on the rise at a big firm. Stressed as she is, her hard work has seen her promoted to a job in London, but has left her with very little time for romance. Not that she's eager to jump back into the dating pool -- coming off a breakup, even in a city as big as New York, once you factor out the freaks, egocentrics and other men of low caliber, she surmises that the prospects are grim. And then there's Josh (Jon Abrahams), a laid back IT guy at the same firm who, with his two friends and co-workers Jules (Malcolm Barrett) and Pradeep (Waris Ahluwlia), leads an enjoyable life of no ambition and slacker cool. Will these two opposites attract? Have you seen a movie before?

Missed Connections

Of course, Josh realizes she's a bit out of his league, but soon finds an opportunity to get close to her and seizes upon it. One day Lucy bumps into a man in a revolving door at the office who seems to have everything she's looking for: he's handsome, British (the accent is "like female Viagara"), well read (he loves Tolstoy) and a world traveler. They share a moment, but of course, it quickly passes before they can exchange numbers. Urged by her friend Tess (Julia Jones), Lucy decides to try and find him on Craigslist's Missed Connections. Josh sees her post as part of his job monitoring staff internet use (which he also uses as an excuse to spy on her) and decides to anonymously respond as a prank. Set to surprise her at Washington Square Park and reveal the gag, when she starts crying, he concocts a story that he was waiting there too for his own Missed Connection, and as one lie builds on top of the other, he starts create more responses in order to "help" Lucy find her mystery man, all as a ruse to spend more time with her.

Yes, Josh is kind of an asshole. But because he's doing this all for love, and is drawing Lucy out of her work-driven shell, the audience is supposed to forgive this extended charade. It doesn't quite succeed, but Abrahams along with Barrett and Ahluwalia (whose characters Jules and Pradeep help in his scheme) are engaging enough that you're than happy to spend time with them anyway. The three are the film's comedic backbone, and while it can be broad at times (Ahuwalia's aspiring hip hop MC Pradeep, isn't quite convincing; Barrett's Jules is a bit undefined, but he gets some big laughs) their easy back and forth is involving. Meanwhile, both Sumner and Abrahams share a palpable chemistry that allows them to carry the movie over patches where the narrative stalls or becomes repetitive. And Abrahams in particular has the kind of presence and rakish charm that is not unlike Jake Johnson, and we can see him filling similar roles in the future.

Missed Connections

And yet, even as good as the actors are, and though it's constructed on a decidedly contemporary approach to how men and women meet in the internet era, Snyder doesn't quite know where to take the movie as it wraps up. Unfortunately, "Missed Connections" takes a giant step back in the last act with a standard montage and racing-to-find-someone moment that you've seen in countless other, better movies. But perhaps worse, it contains a disappointingly conservative and old fashioned message. At one point during the film, Lucy says her previous relationship fell apart because they were both invested in their careers. Josh advises that she should've put her man ahead of her work. It's a thorough shame that this movie presents a woman as being unattractive or undesirable if she has career aspirations, and unfortunately that message carries through in a conclusion that reinforces a dated and somewhat sexist notion of what a modern relationship can be built on.

It's a bum note that derails an otherwise modest film, one that makes the most of an obviously low budget and the generally misshapen nature of first films. Snyder is still a filmmaker finding his voice and tone, and there are flashes throughout "Missed Connections" that indicate that he's one to keep an eye on. However, we hope down the road that his perception of gender roles advances to meet the contemporary approach to his narratives. [C+]

This article is related to: Savannah Film Festival, Waris Ahluwalia, Review


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates